Attributes that Anchor Us: The Omnipresence of God

If I had my life to live over again, I would spend more time getting to know my God.” This statement was made by Mr. Andrew Douglas years ago at a Midland, ON, conference, and I have never forgotten it. To grow continually in the knowledge of God was the desire of our Lord Jesus Christ for His disciples. He prayed, “that they might know thee, the only true God” (Joh 17:3).[1] This goes beyond the moment of salvation to a continual, growing appreciation for our God.

Many of us had the privilege of being raised in a Christian home, attending Sunday School and gospel meetings. We were taught and convinced there was a God who created the heavens and the earth, and that God was holy. But have our grasp and appreciation of truth about “The Eternal” (French Bible noun for God) increased? Are we getting to know God more?

In this article, we’ll examine the subject of the omnipresence of God. While the noun “omnipresence” or its adjectival form “omnipresent” is not found in the Bible, it is indeed one of the many great attributes of deity. The truth encompassed by the word “omnipresent” saturates the whole of the Word of God.

Omnipresence is a compound word. Omni is from the Latin meaning “all”; presence is a locative word. “Omnipresence” means that God is present everywhere at the same time and all the time, without exception nor limitation. Satan can only be in one place at a time.

Our God majestically transcends His creation and fills His universe at all times. While incomprehensible to minds of limited understanding, faith grasps with reverence and fear the vastness, greatness and wonder of our infallible God.

Omnipresence is vastly different from “pantheism” – the teaching that God is everywhere and everything is God. To pantheists, God and the universe are identical. This denies the transcendent character of God as unique and distinct from all He created. He is not confined by the limitations of space and time.

There is a correlation between omnipresence and omniscience. The God who is everywhere knows everything. Hanani reminded Asa, “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth” (2Ch 16:9). Embracing all and missing nothing, God never slumbers.

There is no place to hide from the ever-present and all-knowing God. “Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the Lord” (Jer 23:24). Elihu reminded Job, “His eyes are upon the ways of man” (Job 34:21). The psalmist reflected, “Whither shall I flee from thy presence?” (Psa 139:7). In his meditations David knew the impossibility of escape from the presence of God. He concluded, “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (vv23-24).

In the first of two OT references, notice that Adam enjoyed communion with God, who walked in the garden. He fully comprehended the restriction God placed on the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. “The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good” (Pro 15:3). After disobeying their Creator, it was futile for Adam and Eve to attempt to hide behind a tree. The first words to fallen man, “Where art thou?” (Gen 3:9), did not imply that God could not locate Adam, for the ever-present God desired that Adam locate himself.

In the second, consider Hagar, who fled in desperation after being abandoned by Abraham and rejected by Sarah. The angel of the Lord knew the details of her life. She confessed, “Thou God seest me” (Gen 16:13).

There is for the believer rich blessing in the omnipresence of God. We can enjoy rich communion with the ever-present God in every circumstance of life. How precious are the words of Isaiah 43:2: “When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.”  To Israel, the waters would identify the Red Sea when they were pursued by the Egyptians; the river Jordan, their possession of the land; the fire, the three men in a burning furnace. But how precious it is to be reminded, “I will be with thee.” The apostle gives us the Lord’s promise: “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Heb 13:5). In the flowing rivers of life’s difficulties, the deep waters many pass through or the fires of testimony for Christ, He promises to be with His own. Stephen’s body was being crushed with stones thrown by violent men. Facing a brutal martyr’s death, and looking up to Heaven, he was encouraged in the hour of deepest trial by the Great High Priest, Jesus, who was standing, succouring and encouraging His servant passing through the fire.

No study of God’s omnipresence would be complete without looking at our Lord Jesus Christ who was God manifest in the flesh (1Ti 3:16). He “thought it not robbery to be equal with God” (Php 2:6). He was no less upon this earth than when He was upon the throne supreme. He possessed all the attributes of deity as He sojourned here. He is omnipresent because He is God.

The Lord Jesus demonstrated His omnipresence. He told a woman at a well the details of her life (John 4). When Philip brought Nathanael to the Lord, Nathanael asked how He knew him. The omnipresent Lord replied, “When thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee” (Joh 1:48).

In John 3:13, while upon earth, Jesus spoke of being in heaven. Since He is everywhere at the same time, He can be both on earth and in heaven. In Matthew 18:20, across the acres of earth, wherever companies of believers are gathered together in His name, He is with them in their midst. Finally, He said to His disciples before He returned to heaven, “Lo, I am with you always” (Mat 28:20).

How precious and encouraging it is to know and to experience daily His nearness. Whether it is in the kitchen meeting the needs of a little family, working in the office, sitting at a school desk, labouring alone in the harvest field proclaiming the gospel, or laid aside because of the infirmities of age, we can rest confidently assured that our Lord is ever-present.

[1] All Scripture references in this article are from the KJV.